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How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have?

How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have? | BetterVet

If you've ever wondered about the dental anatomy of dogs and the importance of maintaining their oral health, you've come to the right place. In this article, we'll explore the fascinating world of dog teeth, from the primary teeth in puppies to the adult teeth in grown dogs.

Discover the different types of teeth, their functions, and the significance of proper dental care for your dog's overall well-being.

Key Takeaways:
  • Puppies have 28 primary teeth that are gradually replaced by adult teeth.
  • Adult dogs have 42 teeth, with specific types serving different functions.
  • Incisors are for grasping, canines for tearing, premolars for shearing and grinding, and molars for crushing and grinding.
  • Prioritizing dental care ensures a happy and healthy life for dogs.

How Many Teeth Do Dogs Have?

Dogs typically have a total of 42 teeth in their mouths. These teeth consist of incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. Each type of tooth serves a specific purpose in a dog's chewing and eating habits, allowing them to tear, grind, and crush food. 

Primary Teeth in Puppies

Just like humans, puppies start their dental journey with primary or deciduous teeth, often called "milk teeth." These temporary teeth play a crucial role in the puppy's early stages of life, aiding in proper chewing and overall growth. While not meant to last a lifetime, their significance should not be underestimated.

The development of primary teeth in puppies follows a relatively predictable timeline. Puppies usually start teething around 3 weeks of age, and by 6 to 8 weeks, their deciduous teeth begin to emerge. The process continues until the puppy is about 4 to 6 months old, when the adult teeth gradually replace the primary ones.

On average, puppies have 28 primary teeth. These include incisors, canines, and premolars, but not molars. These temporary teeth serve as placeholders for the adult teeth that will replace them as the puppy grows.

Adult Teeth in Dogs

Adult dogs possess a diverse array of teeth that are specifically adapted to their carnivorous nature. These teeth include incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. Each type of tooth serves a particular purpose in a dog's chewing and eating habits, allowing them to tear, grind, and crush food.

The development of adult teeth begins when puppies are around 4 to 6 months old. During this period, the primary teeth gradually fall out, making way for the eruption of permanent teeth. The process can continue until the dog is around 6 to 8 months old, although the timing may vary between breeds and individual dogs.

Adult dogs typically have a total of 42 teeth, consisting of 12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars, and 10 molars. However, it's worth noting that some small breeds may have fewer teeth due to congenital conditions or missing teeth.

Types of Dog Teeth

Dogs have large number of teeth in their mouths, each serving a specific purpose. Let's explore the various types of dog teeth:

Incisors

Located at the front of the mouth, incisors are thin, sharp teeth that dogs use for grasping and pulling objects. They play a crucial role in grooming, nibbling, and picking up small items.

Canines

Canines, also known as "fangs," are the long, pointed teeth situated on either side of the incisors. These teeth are designed for tearing and holding onto objects. Canines are particularly important for dogs' natural behaviors such as hunting and self-defense.

Premolars

Positioned behind the canines, premolars are larger teeth with flat surfaces. Dogs have four premolars on each side of their upper and lower jaws. Premolars aid in shearing and grinding food, contributing to the initial stages of the digestion process.

Molars

Molars are the large, flat teeth located behind the premolars. Dogs have three molars on each side of their upper and lower jaws. These canine teeth are responsible for crushing and grinding food, assisting in the final stages of digestion.

The combination of these different types of teeth helps dogs adapt to a varied diet and meet their nutritional needs.

Importance of Dental Health

Healthy teeth and gums are vital for a dog's overall health and quality of life. Dental issues, such as plaque buildup, tartar, gum disease (including periodontal disease), and tooth decay, can lead to discomfort, difficulty eating, and even systemic infections.

Poor dental health in dogs may also impact their breath odor and contribute to organ damage if bacteria enter the bloodstream.

Regular dental care is essential for preventing such problems and promoting a happy, healthy life for our canine companions.

How To Prevent Dogs From Losing Their Teeth

Ensuring good dental health for your furry friend starts with taking preventive measures. Here are some important steps you can take to promote optimal dental hygiene and keep your dog's teeth and gums in great shape:

  • Brush your dog's teeth with a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste to remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup. Aim for daily brushing or as recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Provide appropriate dental chews and toys to stimulate chewing, reduce plaque, and promote healthy gums. Look for products approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Feed your pup a balanced diet that supports dental health, contributing to strong teeth and healthy gums. Consult your veterinarian for diet recommendations tailored to your dog's specific needs.
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings with a veterinarian. These procedures thoroughly assess your dog's oral health and effectively remove plaque and tartar buildup.

Remember, consistently integrating these preventive measures into your dog's routine will safeguard their dental health and enhance their overall quality of life.

Conclusion 

Dogs have remarkable teeth that play a crucial role in their lives. From chewing to maintaining overall health, their teeth are essential to avoid dental diseases. By prioritizing dental care through preventive measures, regular check-ups, and proper oral hygiene, you can contribute to your pup’s beaming smiles and optimal well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many teeth can a dog lose?

Dogs go through a process where their puppy teeth are replaced by a total of 42 adult teeth. It is important to note that dogs should not lose their adult teeth under normal circumstances. However, in cases of periodontal disease, trauma, or other dental issues, dogs may experience tooth loss. 

If you notice your dog losing teeth, it is advisable to seek veterinary attention to address any underlying concerns and ensure their dental health.  

What do dogs do when they lose their teeth?

When puppies lose their teeth, they may chew on objects to alleviate discomfort and help loosen the baby teeth. In adult dogs, losing teeth is not normal. They may experience difficulties in eating and pain or sensitivity in the mouth. You should seek veterinary attention to determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment.

What is the average age for dogs to lose teeth? 

Dogs begin losing their baby teeth and getting their adult teeth between 4 to 6 months old. However, every dog is different, so these age ranges are just rough estimates.

Is it common for older dogs to lose teeth? 

Older dogs often experience tooth loss because of dental problems like gum disease, infection, and decay. Regular dental care, including professional cleanings and at-home oral hygiene, can help prevent tooth loss and keep their teeth healthy.

How much does it cost to have a dog’s teeth pulled?

The cost of removing a dog's tooth can vary, but it typically ranges from $500 to $900. The exact price depends on factors such as the specific tooth, the extent of damage, and the type of extraction or repair needed. It is recommended to consult with your veterinarian to get the most accurate estimate.

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